All the times the Congress MP made people reach for their dictionaries

In 2017, Tharoor voluntarily started giving English lessons by using obscure words in his Twitter lexicon with some political context, including farrago, troglodyte, and rodomontade

Shashi Tharoor teaches meaning of 'Quockerwodger': All the times the Congress MP made people reach for their dictionaries

File image of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. PTI

It is not rare for one to find a difficult-to-pronounce and impossible to understand English word in Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s Twitter. The Thiruvananthapuram MP on Wednesday posted another such English word – quockerwodger – that left netizens looking for their dictionaries.

“A useful addition to our political vocabulary!?” Tharoor added that the word he informed dates back to 1860.

The man of many words helpfully shared the meaning too. “A quockerwodger was a type of wooden puppet. In politics, a quockerwodger was a politician acting on the instructions of an influential third party, rather than properly representing their constituents,” he said.

This was not the first time that the author-politician-wordsmith sent Twitterati into a tizzy with his knowledge of the language, let’s take a look when Tharoor’s words made dictionaries useful again:


Last year, Tharoor took a dig at the BJP with the word ‘allodoxaphobia’, which he said was the word of “the last seven years”.

He explained the word, which means an irrational fear of opinions, and its usage in a sentence, using the BJP and its actions in Uttar Pradesh as an example.


Before that, the Congress MP engaged in a friendly banter with TRS working president KT Rama Rao over COVID-19 medicine names and threw in the obscure ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’.

The TRS president had to pull out a dictionary and a “Tharoorosaurus” to comprehend.

Oxford dictionary describes ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’ as the action or habit of estimating something as worthless.


In 2018, the Congress MP slammed BJP leader Vinay Katiyar who had stirred a storm by his remark that the Taj Mahal will soon be renamed as ‘Tej Mandir’.

Tharoor responded to Katiyar’s remark by saying, “We can’t let these troglodytes destroy our country & everything beautiful in it.”

Although not entirely an obscure word, many scurried to find their dictionaries to know that the word refers to people who have lived in a cave, or someone deliberately ignorant.


When not-so-rare words like puerile and troglodyte started going viral, Tharoor took to Twitter to justify his use of big words and ended up giving fodder to social media.

“… I choose my words because they are the best ones for the idea I want to convey, not the most obscure or rodomontade ones,” he tweeted.

The word ‘Rodomontade’ means boastful or inflated talk or behaviour.


From using obscure English words, Tharoor in July went on to invent one, ‘Webaqoof’.

He tweeted, ‘New Hinglish 21st century dictionary: *Webaqoof*: “one who believes every claim or allegation on the internet & social media must be true”.


In 2017, responding to a broadcast channel’s remarks against him related to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar, he tweeted “Exasperating farrago of distortions, misrepresentations & outright lies being broadcast by an unprincipled showman masquerading as a journalst (sic)”.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, ‘Farrago’ means hodgepodge, a confused mixture.

With inputs from agencies

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